Friday, September 14, 2007

Jena Teen Charges Thrown Out

The Associated Press reports that an appeals court today threw out the charge of aggravated assault against a 17-year-old black teen in Jena, Louisiana that carried a maximum of 15 years in prison. Contrary to state law, the youth had been charged as an adult.
Mychal Bell, 17, should not have been tried as an adult, the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal said in tossing his conviction on aggravated battery, for which he was to have been sentenced Thursday.
Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton had planned to protest next week during sentencing and in spite of the court's decision, they said rhey will still show up in Jena.

"Although there will not be a court hearing, we still intend to have a major rally for the Jena Six and now hopefully Mychal Bell will join us," Sharpton said in an e-mailed statement.

Said Jackson: "The pressure must continue until all six boys are set free and sent to school, not to jail."

Jena is a small rural town in Louisiana of mostly whites where "racial animosity flared about a year ago when a black student sat under a tree that was a traditional gathering place for whites. A day later, three nooses were found hanging from the tree."

Afterwards, all hell broke lose with whites and blacks taking it to the streets. Police arrested six blacks youths when a white student was injured during a fight and then charged them with attempted murder.

Prosecutors not only brought charges against a black teen that would've fetched no more than a slap on the wrist if he'd been white, but they chose an illegal venue to boot.

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